Taking Calculated Risks in the High Stakes world of Endorsement Deals
How will you know if a marketing campaign will be successful? To be honest that’s quite an unanswerable question to some degree. However, some of the best campaigns aren’t necessarily the most glaringly obvious alignments but rather the ones that have been carefully calculated to target the exact niche demographic and not try to win over the whole world in one fell swoop. How do you know when you’ve found the next LeBron James or when you’ve just rolled the next pair of loaded dice a la Lance Armstrong and Livestrong?
In all reality, one of the only ways to find out is to take the risk and commit to the campaign before you can see its impact. California Chrome has been the talk of more than just the race community and you didn’t have to look too closely to notice the Skechers blanket draped over the stud horse and the prominent Skechers logos on all the gear of his owners in the week leading up to last week’s Triple Crown finale. Skechers is not so secretly dominating the lifestyle footwear industry and they seem to be aligning themselves with key sports stars some major companies would overlook, like a horse for example. The shoe company recently celebrated some very timely positive branding when their triathlete Meb Keflezighi won the emotional Boston Marathon this year, but how and why do you sign a shoe endorsement deal with a horse?!
In the past Skechers has enlisted the help of celebrities like the Kardashians and Mark Cuban as well as recently signed golfer Matt Kuchar to make their marketing campaigns visible to the right consumer. If you’re under 30 years old and aren’t rushing to the couch to check in on events like the Boston Marathon, premier horse races or weekend long golf tournaments, we bet your parents are; case-and-point for Skechers to tailor their efforts to reach their most profitable target audience, the older demographic. Exploiting the right target audience is everything even if some may misunderstand the purpose of the campaign.
Horse racing is one of the most expensive markets with no cap on the betting side of the track and a vast viewing audience that generally centers around the older demographic. Companies have barely scratched the surface of potential that exists in terms of marketing opportunities in this huge market if they can get creative enough. Skechers was the first shoe company to attempt to align with who had a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner in decades. California Chrome ran masterfully yet was beaten by fresh distance horses on the long track. Skechers decision to saddle up with California Chrome certainly was a risk, but their ability to corner a virtually untapped viewing market will automatically pay dividends for them simply because they have set themselves apart from all other shoe companies by throwing their name around the track of a global sport that finds its home in the United States.
While a win in the final race of the Triple Crown would’ve surely given Skechers even more of a marketing boost, the loss didn’t sink the ship for them. The company still managed to accomplish their goal and has gotten themselves and their brand in front of millions of viewers. The obscurity of this whole deal is intriguing whether you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea to endorse a celebrity that can’t even fit into your sneakers, but isn’t the whole idea of a marketing campaign to get people thinking about your business in the first place? When it comes to creative and calculated marketing strategies, Skechers is running ahead of the pack.
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